David Birrell

Call 2006


Photo of David Birrell


Highly sought after, David prosecutes and defends in serious and complex criminal cases across the country, including:

  • Fraud and money laundering
  • Drugs (conspiracy, supply, importation, production)
  • Homicide
  • Sexual offences
  • Serious violence and robbery.

In recognition of David’s expertise and ability, in 2018 the Crown Prosecution Service appointed him to its Specialist Advocate Panels for: Fraud; Serious Crime; Rape and Sexual Assault; and Proceeds of Crime.

David has extensive experience of cases involving rape and sexual assault, including historic allegations and those involving children.  He is renowned for dealing with such cases sensitively and effectively.

David is an extremely effective trial advocate.  He is fluent, clear-headed and tenacious, particularly in his cross examination of witnesses.  Whether prosecuting or defending, his jury speeches are powerful, pithy and persuasive.

David works hard and provides an exceptional level of service to his solicitors, most of whom instruct him repeatedly.  He makes himself available to advise and confer at all times.  He responds to instructions and queries quickly, making full use of information technology including video conferencing.

David’s instructing solicitors value his calm and reassuring manner with lay clients, many of whom have little or no experience of the criminal justice system. He strives to put his clients at ease, ensuring that they are involved and informed at every stage of the process.

Criminal Cases

Operation Clump (2019) – VAT fraud.  Defending.  David successfully defended a DJ and music producer who was charged fraudulently reclaiming VAT over a period of 7 years.  Despite the overwhelming nature of the Prosecution evidence and the Defendant having minimal documentary evidence to support his assertions, he was acquitted by the jury in less than an hour.

Operation Ischia (2019) – Large scale violent disorder trial involving organised German football hooligans descending on Liverpool.  David represented a doorman alleged to be a principal offender.  After a 4-week trial involving close scrutiny of CCTV evidence by David and his persistence in uncovering vital unused material, not guilty verdicts were secured.

R v XX (2019) – Rape and sexual offences against a child under 13.  Defending.  Unusually, the case involved eye-witnesses and incriminating text messages.  David secured not guilty verdicts.

R v Nutton and others (2019) – Conspiracy to steal.   Defending.  Organised gang targeting HGV vehicles across the country.

R v Spencer and Taylor (2019) – VAT fraud.  Prosecuting.  ‘False invoicing’ VAT fraud perpetrated by a Liverpool-based recruitment company.  David successfully resisted applications to dismiss and secured a conviction against the principal defendant, the Crown having offered no evidence against the second defendant.

Merseyside Police v Richmond News (2019) – Application for closure order against a newsagent said to be linked to anti-social behaviour.  David successfully negotiated a vastly reduced closure order (from 3 months to 2 weeks).

Operation Banjo (2019) – Conspiracy to transfer a firearm.  Defending.   David successfully exposed flaws in the disclosure process which forced the Crown to offer no evidence against his client on the morning of trial.

Operation Calcutta (2018) – Conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.  Defending, alone.  Drugs gang operating in North Liverpool.

Operation Uzana (2017-2018) – Conspiracy to defraud.  Defending, led junior.  Care home fraud.  The case had over 100,000 pages of evidence and the trial lasted over 12 months.  David’s client was acquitted.  The case was reported nationally: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/barton-park-care-home-boss-david-barton-stole-millions-from-residents-kscjm73s9

R v MW (2018) – Attempted Rape.  Defending, alone.  David advanced an unusual ‘sleep sex’ defence on behalf of his client.  Not Guilty verdict.

R v Murray and others (2017) – Conspiracy to defraud.  Defending, alone.  ‘Crash for cash’ insurance fraud in Liverpool.

Operation Segma (2017) – Conspiracy to supply class A drugs, Possession of firearms.  Defending, alone.  Organised gang supplying multiple kilograms of cocaine in Manchester.

Operation Armadillo (2017) – Conspiracy to commit armed robbery.  Prosecuting, alone.  Organised gang targeting cash in transit (‘CIT’) vans in Greater Manchester.

R v Mills (2017) – POCA application in which the Crown alleged that the Defendant had hidden assets totalling £9 million abroad.  David persuaded the Court to find that the available assets were worth c£500,000 and that the Defendant’s family home was not an available asset.

Operation Ingham (2016) – Conspiracy to produce cannabis and money laundering.  Defending, alone.  David successfully advanced the ‘modern slavery’ defence on behalf of his client, a Vietnamese national, who was acquitted on all charges.

R v Spencer and others (2016) – Conspiracy to supply Class A drugs sourced from the ‘dark web’. David defended the main conspirator and secured a suspended sentence for his client. The case was reported in the press.

R v Richardson (2016) – s.18 Wounding with Intent. Defending. Not guilty verdict, secured after previous legal team dismissed the Defendant’s case as “hopeless”.

R v JF (2016) – Rape in gross breach of trust. Defending. Not guilty verdict.

R v Buzincu and Frincu (2016) – Conspiracy to supply cocaine and money laundering. Prosecuting, alone. Guilty verdicts.

R v Shaw (2016) – Historic child sexual abuse. Prosecuting. Guilty verdicts.

R v JM (2015) – Rape and s.18 GBH with intent. Defending. Not guilty verdict.

Operation Alamos (2014) – conspiracy to import class A drugs from abroad with over 15000 pages of evidence. David persuaded the Crown to offer no evidence against his client.

Operation Woburn (2014) – conspiracy to supply class A drugs and money laundering. Drugs gang from Liverpool operating on the South Coast. David secured a suspended sentence of imprisonment for his client.

Operation Arrow (2014) – conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. Drugs gang operating in Cumbria and Tyneside. David represented the second-named defendant on the indictment

Operation Burleigh (2014) – conspiracy to deal in to deal in counterfeit goods valued at £10 million. Case reported nationally: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2273258/Bootleg-bling-gang-members-jailed-fake-designer-goods-racket-uncovered-Manchester.html

Operation Exmoor (2014) – conspiracy to steal and rob. Car ringing case with armed robbery of jewellers in central Manchester

Operation Handa (2013) – Conspiracy to defraud. A ‘boiler room’ fraud valued at £9 million.

R v Zygner and others (2013) – Murder. David represented the first-named Defendant on the Indictment in this 7 week trial. The case involved complicated issues of causation, toxicology and cell site analysis. The case was reported nationally: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cumbria-22598766